The Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals will play the decisive fifth game of their National League Division Series Wednesday at Dodger Stadium after the Dodgers first chance to close out the series ended with a 6-1 loss.
The Dodgers were limited to five hits by right-hander Max Scherzer and two relievers and held scoreless after Justin Turner’s first-inning home run Monday night in Washington. The Nationals broke a 1-1 tie with four runs in the fifth, including Pedro Baez allowing a three-run homer on the second pitch to the first batter he faced, Ryan Zimmerman.
Baez replaced Julio Urias who entered the game in the fifth and allowed singles to three of the five batters he faced, with Anthony Rendon singling in Trea Turner with the go-ahead run.
“I just felt that Pedro was a better matchup considering where he was at as far as freshness,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Urias was charged with the loss as Washington tied the best-of-five series at two games a piece.
The Dodgers were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position, including wasting a leadoff double by Corey Seager in the second inning and loading the bases with one out in the seventh.
Scherzer allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out seven and walking three for the victory.
“He just sort of wills his way to getting outs,” Roberts said. “In that first inning we put up a run and with the homer and from that point on he minimizes damage, he punches a lot of guys, and I just can’t see anybody better.”
Dodger starter Rich Hill was replaced by Kenta Maeda with two outs in the third inning, the score tied 1-1 and the bases loaded.
“The depth of the curveball, it just wasn’t quite there,” Roberts said. “I think that the curveball was up all night and the finish wasn’t quite there.”
Maeda retired Howie Kendrick on a ground ball to end the inning before a crowd at Nationals Park announced at 36,847.
The 39-year-old Hill allowed one run and two hits in 2 2/3 innings, walked four and struck out two in his fourth appearance since June 20. Hill was placed on the injured list June 20 because of a left forearm strain, one day after leaving a start against the San Francisco Giants after one inning, then pitched 5 2/3 innings over three games in September.
Maeda allowed an infield hit to Michael A. Taylor in the fourth and was pinch-hit for in the fifth and replaced by Urias.
“To get him to go one plus again tonight, loved him right there,” Roberts said.
Maeda has pitched in three of the four games of the series, allowing only the infield hit.
Sean Doolittle relieved Scherzer and retired all four batters he faced. Daniel Hudson allowed a single to the first batter he faced, David Freese, then struck out Gavin Lux and induced Will Smith to fly out to right fielder Adam Eaton to end the game.
Rendon’s third-inning sacrifice fly drove in Michael A. Taylor, who walked, with Washington’s first run. Rendon’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly drove in Trea Turner, who hit a ground-rule double, with the Nationals final run before a crowd at Nationals Park announced at 36,847.
Game 1 winner Walker Buehler will pitch for the Dodgers Wednesday against Stephen Strasburg, the Game 2 winner.
“Those guys are premier pitchers in this league,” Roberts said. “We have just seen Strasburg recently and obviously he had his way with us so we’re going to have to make adjustments. I’m sure he’s going to either do what he’s been doing or make adjustments. As a fan, as a player, you live for moments like this.”
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